The Miller brothers from Decatur, five siblings who served in combat in Vietnam, will receive the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award, July 3 during the 53rd annual Spirit of America Festival in Decatur.
Named in honor of America’s most decorated Soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, Audie Murphy, the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is presented to an outstanding American patriot or an outstanding group of individuals who best exemplify the true “Spirit of America.”
Murphy, who was to have been the guest speaker at the 1971 Spirit of America Festival, died in a plane crash just two months before his scheduled appearance at the event. The award was then designated in his name and is presented annually.
Danielle Gibson, president/CEO of Decatur-Morgan County Tourism, confirmed that the Miller brothers will receive this year’s award.
The Miller brothers from Decatur answered this nation’s call to arms during the Vietnam War.
Three joined the Marines and two were drafted into the Army. All five served a yearlong tour in Vietnam during 1966-72.
Their father, James Lesley Miller Sr., was a World War II veteran. He and his wife, Alberta, had seven sons and one daughter. The family moved to Decatur in 1957 from Limestone County.
Twins James L. Jr. and John, 71, joined the Marines as did Thomas, 70. Willie, 69, and Leo, 67, were drafted.
They will receive the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award at noon July 3 at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion at the Spirit of America Awards Luncheon. The annual Fourth of July festival includes one of North Alabama’s largest free fireworks shows in honor of Independence Day.
“We think it’s a great privilege and a great honor for us to receive it,” James, who resides in Limestone County, said of the award to their family. “All five of us will be there. It’ll be a few more family members there.”
John lives in Toney; Willie resides in Decatur; and Thomas and Leo live in Huntsville.